It's been a while since I've rounded up the latest, largely unnecessary, compilation albums that have come out under the Deep Purple name. But as I can't seem to stop myself picking them up in service stations, then you're going to have to read all about them. First up:
Deep Purple & Friends • Platinum Collection
Oh yes, indeed, another visit from the Deep Purple & Family brand, which means it's another rehash of all the other releases featuring material from the Eagle label days. This time around, it's a Dutch label who've got a hold of the licence, and the Platinum Edition seems to equate to the 2CD set being in a cardboard slipcase. They've went all out on the cover art with a picture of Mount Rushmore, which is replicated on the CD sleeve as well.
To be fair, you're getting slightly more music here than on some of the versions, as it clocks in at 24 tracks, even managing to find room for a live version of 'Holy Diver' by Dio in amongst the usual London Symphony Orchestra live tracks and solo material. A point deducted for featuring a tune by Roger Clover (sic), but points won back for featuring 'Fools' and Eddie Hardin's version of 'America'.
Deep Purple • The Collection
A rather nice 12 track set of songs that doesn't include 'Smoke...'! And the good song selection is explained by the small print which says “compiled by Simon Robinson”. Well done, that man. Of course it's all weighted towards Mk2 Deep Purple, but that's understandable. So nine tracks including 'Rat Bat Blue' (hurrah!), a couple from Mr Coverdale's reign and 'Kentucky Woman' to represent the early days.
Naughtily, you only discover that all the tracks are from the remastered editions of the last decade or so, once you've sliced the shrinkwrap off, and a smack in the mouth for Mick Wall, who wrote the sleeve notes. And another one for whoever passes as a fact checker at EMI these days. You can forgive them misspelling Glenn Hughes first name, but to claim that the first Mk II album was “In Rock”. I mean, really. The first studio album, yes, but do your homework. This has been reissued at thruppence ha'penny prices, so it's quite nice to have.
Deep Purple • Greatest Hits
Excuse me for a moment while I collapse in a heap, laughing. Bwahahahahahahahahaha! That's better. Greatest Hits, eh? In a steel box with a sticker that's just begging to be torn off, and songs from the RCA years. I don't think so.
Yes, folks, it's another variation on “Purplexed”, which makes it a complete waste of time. With nothing in the way of sleeve notes, and a generic tin box that they're using for loads of other heritage acts, it must have the cheapest production costs imaginable. It does, however, feature 'Fortuneteller' alongside the usual rehashes of old tunes performed live, with only 5 studio numbers amongst the 11 tracks on offer. Avoid.
Deep Purple • Singles & EP Anthology '68 – '80
An unwieldy, albeit accurate title, this is the best of the bunch by far. Starting right back at the beginning, it does everything it says on the tin, but without the tin. Some fantastic music is present and correct across 2 CDs and 38 songs, including overseas A and B-sides, and some different edits, right up to the “New, Live & rare” series of EPs.
It's well illustrated with some cracking 7” picture sleeves, which as you all know, is the greatest art form of the 20th century. The liner notes are pithy and to the point, and this is well worth the entrance price, especially for the odds and sods. It's starting to appear at bargain prices, so snap up a copy sharpish.
reviews: Stuart A Hamilton